Gardeners Start Your Engines

A lot of people made a lot of banana bread during lockdown. We made red wine and cheese. But apparently, four-time Formula 1 World Champion Sebastian Vettel completed an internship in organic farming. He is not alone of course, 1979 World Champion, Jody Scheckter, owns Laverstoke Park, a biodynamic farm in Hampshire.

Appropriately, the spring months of March and April are very much the Le Mans-style start for gardeners on the veg patch. And as usual we have been running around The Secret Acre trying to get all the new growing season jobs started, as well as catching up on some the winter tasks still not done.

We actually started once again in February by drawing out a plan for our crop rotations, setting out the seed potatoes to chit, and finishing all the orchard pruning.

By the warmer spring days of March and April we were catching up the last of the winter boundary clearance. Emma’s last year seed grown wild garlic area in a shady spot near the Bramley was establishing well. Plus we finally created an asparagus bed by the greenhouse, planted up with a mixture of purchased crowns, as well as more plants also grown from seed by Emma last year in preparation. An unusual amount of forward planning for us for sure.

We have been nourished in our work by the last of the winter veg bed pickings, freeing up space for manuring with our home grown compost ahead of summer plantings from May onwards. Until recently we were still picking parsnips, leaks, kale and purple sprouting broccoli for roasting with our home grown horseradish. Plus from the storeroom, finishing up the last of last year’s broad beans, potatoes and squashes.

While I shovelled compost around the garden, Emma was once again in charge of the seed sowing end of the operation. Now the house and greenhouse are full of germinating seed trays, ready to be potted on, hardened up and before too long now planted out.

So, like Sebastian Vettel, we are ready again on the starting grid, awaiting the green flag.


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